World Cup hosts and emphatic pre-tournament favourites Brazil predictably find themselves in the last eight but their path to the quarter final has been less than straightforward.
Unconvincing at times in the group phase, Luis Felipe Scolari’s side required a dramatic penalty shootout to get past Chile in the second round, as a nation held its collective breath, and the Selecao have plenty to find if they are go on to lift the trophy.
Nevertheless, they’re odds-on favourites to reach the semi-final at the expense of the exciting Colombians in Fortaleza on Friday, Winner.com pricing the home side at 5/6 to get through in normal time.
In addition, Brazil are just 2/5 via Stan James to eliminate their South American neighbours by any means but given the respective performances of both teams so far, it would be a bold move to back Scolari’s men at such a slender price. Indeed, bet365’s 15/4 about a victory for Los Cafeteros isn’t without appeal given that Jose Pekerman’s charges have a hundred percent record in the tournament so far and have looked as impressive as anyone.
Naturally, after the Brazilians drew with a similarly attack-minded Chile outfit, BetVictor’s 11/4, for a stalemate after 90 minutes will attract market support while a score draw at 7/2 (Paddy Power) is also set to prove popular but a more tempting alternative is Skybet’s 5/2 marked against the Colombians in the ‘Draw No Bet’ market.
The mouth-watering showdown will undoubtedly be billed as a battle between two of the competition’s form players in Neymar and current top scorer James Rodriguez. The former is 4/1 with Ladbrokes to break the deadlock and at the other end, Rodriguez is an 8/1 shot at bet365 to put Pekerman’s troops 1-0 in front.
Earlier on Friday, there’s a contest between two European heavyweights in Rio’s Maracana Stadium as France lock horns with Germany and it’s the latter that get the nod from bookies at 6/4 courtesy of BetVictor to prevail in 90 minutes.
Bet365 quote Les Bleus at 11/5 but again, there’s likely to be a significant amount of money for an inconclusive affair, available here at 23/10 (Stan James) and it’s 21/2 with BetVictor to be goalless, just like the Germans’ last 16 match with Algeria, which was later resolved in extra-time.
Joachim Low’s will need to improve if they are to overcome the formidable French but having been given a wake up call last time out they can do just that and bet365 go 3/1 about them shading it by a one-goal margin.
More accurately, Ladbrokes post 9/1 against a 2-1 victory for Die Mannschaft in a fixture that should see both teams find the net (10/11, William Hill) and BetVictor fancy Thomas Muller to set them on their way, offering the Bayern Munich man at 11/2 to fire the opener. Stan James price France front man Karim Benzema identically.
On Saturday, surprise packages Costa Rica are tipped to finally bow out, Skybet rating them at 1/2 to lose to the Netherlands in Salvador. Los Ticos are 7/1 with Paddy Power to stun Louis van Gaal’s team and 10/3 at BetVictor to force extra-time but this one could be a step too far for the Central Americans.